Encyclopedia of Emotions 23

Those In Charge

By: Coralyhr

When the light turned red and the vehicles began to cross the road, I stepped onto the gravel pavement.

“RANE!” a voice roared from behind. Without meaning to hesitate, I turned and found myself looking into the cold eyes of my father. He stopped a distance away as if afraid that if he came closer, I would step out onto the road.

I wanted to. I wanted to break away from his strict, cold eyes and cross the road. But I could not. I stared until he walked right up and slapped me across the face.

At that moment, I saw white stars in the sky. One of them streaked across the sky. So I made a wish.

‘I wish I was not here.’

He grabbed my hand and I wondered if this was the first time he touched me in ten years. He never cared before, why did he come chasing after me?

I struggled from his grasp and took a step back. A car honked. Papa jumped, grabbed my hand back and yanked me away. “Rane,” he hissed, and his voice cracked with anger.

“What?” I demanded. “I am old enough to live my own life.”

He dragged me down the dark path. I wondered what he thought of this whole thing. A man in a business suit dragging a girl in her pyjamas who looked like she was mentally unstable. He should just put me into a girl’s home and go on with his life.

He had parked his car nearby and shoved me into it.

Maybe the bystander who saw would think he was a kidnapper. Would anyone call the police for me?

No. I thought so.

We got home before I realised what was going on.

He opened Rayden’s room. It was empty now. He had thrown out everything or given it to Mummy. There wasn’t even a bed inside. I was thrown inside and then the key turned.

“Think about it,” he said, “and tell me tomorrow: What do you want?”

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Encyclopedia of Emotions

The Fog of Discernment

By: Coralyhr

Rane squinted at his flickering form in the blue fog that thickened the further they went down the slope. “I don’t know if there is a definite way out.”

“You’ve lost hope.”

“I don’t know anything.”

“You’re just drifting around trying to find meaning in your life.”

“So? Isn’t everyone trying to do that?”

“But the problem with that is that often than not, you will conclude that there is no meaning and then the meaning of your life will be for your personal gratification.”

“Is that wrong? Why can’t I, who exists, and suffers for existing, have my own happiness?” Rane looked down while she spoke, watching where she put her foot because the slope began steeper than it should be. “If someone will tell me definitely…”

“If someone tells you definitely,” said Bai’s voice, “you will not believe them because you don’t think they know it definitely.”

“If they have proof, I will believe them,” Rane said.

Bai laughed. “Evidence is subjective.”

“Find evidence for ME to believe then.”

She looked up to inquire his answer. But he was gone. The only shoes that made squishing noises in the tall grasses that brushed the knees of her pants, were her own.

Encyclopedia of Emotions 20

The Valley of No Answers

By: Coralyhr

Bai was silent, as if contemplating whether to tell her or not. He grinned. “I don’t know. You know it though. Or at least,” he took a puffball off the same tree and bounced it, but unlike with Rane, the green acid did not burn him, “you will know when you find out.”

She took out her wooden stick and pointed it at him. “Why won’t you telll me?” she demanded.

He shrugged, unperturbed by the stick which caused a dark purple trickle to leak from a sharp cut above his collarbone. “You can kill me if you want, I don’t die. And, I also don’t know the answer.”

“Whatever you know,” snarled Rane, she picked another puffball and made to throw it in his face, “tell me now.”

He sighed and sat on a short toadstool, folding his legs beneath him and settling his tail on his lap. “Alright,” he said, “listen carefully and do not fall asleep, for it is a long story.”

Rane sat on a nearby toadstool, keeping the stick on his shoulder. “Go on,” she said.

He cleared his throat and gave his most serious face. “Once you find out how you got here, you will know how to leave.”

There was a long silence.

“Go on,” said Rane.

Bai laughed. “That’s it.”

She lifted her stick and swung it at him. He blocked the blow with his tail, rubbing the blue appendage along the length of the stick.

“Ah ah ah,” he taunted, “be careful with your actions. Pay heed that you do not become rash.”

Rane did not know why she felt so jumpy. During her journey, she had not felt much of anything, but now, she was tired. Very tired. “I want to know how to get out of here.”

“You don’t want to get out of here?”

she stared at him. He smirked.

“There’s a difference between wanting to know and wanting to do. If you just want to know, I assure you that it is better not to. If you want to do, go and look for the answer. Asking me who has no idea will not help you.”

Rane swung her stick again.

Encyclopedia of Emotions 19

The Password-locked Cabinet

By: Coralyhr

All the teachers offered to meet up with us if we had any questions about the subject we wanted to ask. The Chemistry teacher who thought Oxygen was in Group II. The Math teacher who forgot that 10 was not a one digit number and who mixed up x with the multiplication symbol. The English teacher with terrible grammar. The principal who was frequently late for assembly.

I did not believe any of them.

O Levels was in one month. We did not have to come to school anymore. I didn’t. I stayed at home. Since none of them could answer my questions anyway. And even if they did, I don’t believe them. “Did you ask?” Papa said.

It was a strange day. He came home from work early, claiming that it was a public holiday the next day. I had lost track of the days that passed. He frowned and asked if I had stepped out of my room for the past 24 hours.

He picked up my food trash and carried it to the kitchen.

I didn’t want to study. It was meaningless. Math that I would never use. Chemistry that I never understood. English that never communicated anything for me. But I did because I couldn’t ask anyone the questions. And no one could answer me.

“Yes,” I told him. Then I stopped writing with my pen and glanced at the window. “No. I didn’t.”

“Ask,” he said. He had picked up an assessment book that I finished. I did not do any of the questions. I had drawn eyes on one page. Bouncing balls on another. A dolphin out of some figure that was supposed to be deciphered. I finished drawing on all the pages.

Now, I had started on my Chemistry ten-year-series, colouring in the enclosed spaces of the letters in question forty two.

“Study hard,” he said.

He left the room.

I thought that maybe the person who needed to ask the question was not me. It was him. It was the teachers. I had nothing to ask. I had an answer. But no one wanted to know it. So it was stuck in my throat and over time, a question marked formed on top of the fullstop.

Encyclopedia of Emotions 18

The Fragile Heart

By: Coralyhr

Rane stared at the still water. It was not rising. ‘No. I can’t do anything about it.’

‘You didn’t do anything about it.’

‘I can’t. The world is that way,’ explained Rane, ‘You can’t stop the arrows from coming. I’ve tried to tread carefully so I don’t get hurt, but there’s only so far that I can go.’

‘So the world is at fault?’

‘Yes.’ She paused. ‘No. You are at fault too.’

‘Me?’

‘For being so fragile. For failing me.’

Bai smiled. Rane wondered if he heard the conversation. She felt awkward standing in the middle of a lake, talking to the ground.

‘Fragile…’

‘You broke so easily. Just a little bit. You didn’t survive very long did you.’

‘No. I didn’t. I always thought it was your fault.’

Rane was silent.

‘And apparently, you think it is my fault. Where do you think we are right now?’

‘Elusive.’

‘No. We are gone. You want to know what you’re not feeling anything. You don’t really want to know.’

‘I do want to know.’

‘Then why don’t you accept the answer?’

‘I’m not happy with it.’

‘You can’t be happy if the question is why are you not happy.’

‘I’m not satisfied.’

‘You can’t be satisfied-‘

‘Okay. I get it. What do you want me to do?’

‘Fix it.’

Rane sighed. ‘I’m not humpty dumpty. There are no king’s men to try and put you together. And they ultimately failed.’

‘All the king’s horses, and all the king’s men, could not put humpty dumpty together again. I know that nursery rhyme. It was your favourite one.’

‘I liked the colours of the pictures,’ said Rane. ‘And how they assumed that Humpty Dumpty was an egg. But maybe, maybe, Humpty Dumpty was a heart.’

‘Maybe. Yes. Maybe indeed.’

‘I can’t fix you. I don’t know anyone who can. But you have to live with it and stop coming up with a solution.’

Encyclopedia of Emotions 16

The Glass Reminiscene

By: Coralyhr

“So all those things that I saw are gone?” she asked.

Bai nodded.

“Then why have you returned?”

He sighed. “I am different.”

“It would be better,” she whispered, “if you did not return.”

“Why?” he asked.

Without looking at him, she kept a few steps ahead of him. “Because even though I know I’m alone, I’m starting… to think of you as a friend.”

He was quiet for a while. “Then stop thinking.”

Rane felt the tips of her ears turn red.

But Bai said, “What’s wrong with that?”

“You’re not a friend. You can’t be a friend. You’re not going to help me when I need help, you’re not going to encourage me when I need encouragement, you’re not going to be there at the most important moment. And the worst,” she looked up at the white blue sky with streams of clouds that are frozen in the air, illuminated by a nonexistent sun, “is the fact that you are not real.”

Bai laughed, the mocking, irritating laughter. Rane felt anger boiling inside her. She tried to keep a straight face and marched along the path. He spoke, his voice nonchalent, almost as if he was oblivious to the raw emotions that Rane had voiced, “You don’t really know what a friend is.”

“Well,” Rane almost yelled, “maybe that’s because I never had one.”

“You’re too scared.”

A strange sound filled the air. The sound of a whisper but it echoed everywhere.

“You’re too scared that it’s not real. Even if I was real, you would not believe I was real because you’re afraid that I will not be real. Fear, even though you’ve killed her, she still lives inside you.”

The whisper became a grumbling noise.

The ground began to vibrate gently.

“I have never found anyone who would be a friend,” retorted Rane, spinning around to face Bai. “You think you can be one?”

“No. I don’t think I can. But you have the idea wrong. A friend is not there to help you. A friend is not there to encourage you. A friend is not going to be there at the most important point of your life. That is God’s role. Your friend, whoever it may be, will also need help, need encouragement and want someone to be there at the most important point of their life.”

“Then what is the point of a friend?” Rane asked.

At that moment, something jerked from under them, and they fell over. The dirt ground cracked beneath them and disintegrated into a smooth glass surface. The light shimmered around them and a layer of glass materialised. Water condensed along the smooth surface.

“What’s happening?” Rane banged her hands on the walls of glass and peered through at the trees beyond. But the trees were misted into a faint shade of green and blue and then she could not see beyond the glass. She turned to look at Bai.

He was leaning against one of the walls of the glass box, twirling his tail with one hand, watching her out of his electric blue eyes. “The point of a friend, is to be stuck in the same place as you.”

Encyclopedia of Emotions 14

The Island of Fear

By: Coralyhr

YueLi handed her a dog bowl. The swirling liquid in it had the smell of bitter almonds. Rane knew what it was. “I’m not going to drink this,” she said.

“You will,” said the mouthless YueLi, her eyes flicking over Rane. “You always do what I say. I have all your secrets. I will tell people.”

“No,” said Rane. “You’re not like that.”

“You don’t know me at all,” YueLi said, tilting her head to one side. She began to fill another dog bowl with a dark red liquid from a glass bottle. The smell of iron filled the air. “You were never really thinking about me. It’s always been yourself.”

“No. I… I cared about you too.”

YueLi put the second bowl in her other hand. “If you really did, you’ll drink it.”

“It’s poison,” Rane said.

YueLi stared at her. “It’s not.”

“I can smell it.”

She took out a knife and held it out. “Come on, be a good friend. You can do it, Rane. You just need to try a lot harder.” She tapped Rane’s cheek with the flat of the blade, “One day you’ll be good at it. Maybe.”

Encyclopedia of Emotions 9

The Page of Doubt

By: Coralyhr

The pinkish fur-ball yelled at them to stop, plunging his own claw into a comrade on the left. There was a shrill cry now and a bloodbath ensued. Rane could not stand it anymore. She began to close the door.

“Wait!” called the pinkish fur-ball. “Trust me, it’s not what you think it is.”

Rane stared at it. “Yes. I think that’s just what it is.”

The pinkish fur-ball kicked PinPin and climbed up his companions to stand so that he was level with Rane’ s head. “What do you mean?”

“I can’t trust anyone here. The only thing I can trust is that I can’t trust anyone. You are all lying to me. Bai is lying to me. The old woman is lying to me.”

“Bai never lied to you. He can’t.”

Rane let go of the door knob. “What do you mean he can’t?”

“That’s who he is. He can’t lie to you.”

“You can lie to me. Maybe you’re lying by saying that he can’t lie to you.”

“Fine. But he’s your guardian. He can’t lie to you.”

Then the pinkish fur-ball was kicked off the pile of the little creatures and disappeared into the foray.

Rane had other things to ask, but he was gone.

PinPin (who Rane could spot easily simply because he was matted in the most blood) pressed himself against the mesh. “Rane. Rane. You didn’t go into the other room did you?”

She shook her head. “No. There’s nothing inside.”

PinPin hooked his claws on the mesh. “There is. Touch the walls. You’ll see.”

“Why would I want to do that?”

He looked hurt. “You’re really suspicious aren’t you?”

She pushed blonde hair behind her ear. “You would be too, if every time you try to figure something out, it kills you.”

PinPin kicked one of his friends away so Rane could see him clearly. “I would, I think. If I had anything to figure out. But if you never know, it will still kill you.”

Encyclopedia of Emotions 6

The Meaning of Home

By: Coralyhr

She stepped towards one of the walls with the photographs. They depicted stick figures with faces were all coloured in with a dark pencil. Rane idly guessed a 6B pencil. The glass from some of the framing was cracked. There were knife marks in the walls and marks of furniture having crashed into the wall.

Rane noticed the windows had a curtain bar above them but there were only tatters of the cloth once used as a curtain.

She turned to look at the four doors. The knobs of the door were grey but there were red handprints smudged all over. The carpet at the edge had uneven dark red patches. Her stomach churned uncomfortably.

The old woman still had pale white skin and pure white hair and black eyes with no irises. But now, her frown was a smile. She was still holding the glass. It was empty since Rane had drank the liquid inside but now it was half full again with a swirling red liquid the same colour as the stains below the doors to the rooms.

The old woman held up the cup and swirled the liquid. The smell of blood filled the air. “It would have been better,” she said, her smile un-twitching, “if you hadn’t struggled.”

“I…” Rane said, swallowing the bile rising in her throat, “would have wanted to know anyway.”

“Now you do. What difference does it make?”

Enlightenment?

Sippy Cup Review

~

Sippy Cup is a song from Melanie’s debut album Cry Baby released 14 August 2015. She was a contestant in The Voice (USA) in 2012 and made it to the Top 6 before she was eliminated. After that, she signed on with Atlantic Records and released this concept album. All thirteen songs in the album are somehow tied to each other by theme or by character and they focus on heavy themes like drugs, identity and family (or the lack of).

This song in particular is flooded with meaning and emotion. She sings about skeletons in the closet, vulnerability and the desperation to appear normal. Being a concept album, most of the songs surround the life of Cry Baby and her twisted family. A father who’s working in a drug company and sleeping with another woman. A mother who’s dieting, drinking and desperate to forget reality. Cry Baby who’s caught in this mess and dressed up to make the family appear normal. (There is also a brother who’s not present in Sippy Cup but he’s doing drugs too.)

But behind all the backstory, with just the lyrics, Melanie paints an abstract picture loaded with references both to drugs and childhood memories. A sippy cup. A cradle. Harmless happy things.

But are they really?

What if the things placed inside can hurt you? What if the cradle is a prison? What if the sippy cup is a drug? What’s inside?

You can put trash inside a gilded gold box and call it treasure. Colour tissue paper red and call it roses. Paste smiles on skeletons and call them humans. It’s not wrong is it though? We make treasure out of trash and roses out of tissue. But that doesn’t mean we should forget that the treasure is still trash and the roses are tissue paper.

Blood still stains when the sheets are washed

Sex don’t sleep when the lights are off
Kids are still depressed when you dress them up
And syrup is still syrup in a sippy cup
He’s still dead when you’re done with the bottle
Of course it’s a corpse that you keep in the cradle
Kids are still depressed when you dress them up
Syrup is still syrup in a sippy cup

I think that we do that all the time. Pretend that nothing is wrong. “Going on with life,” we call it. “I’ll get over it.” We don’t. We just lock up the skeleton and place it in the back of the storeroom with the rest of them. Hiding doesn’t solve problems. Oh, but we do it anyway.

Encyclopedia of Emotions 5

Treading on Eggshells

By: Coralyhr

Rane took a step sideways. Bai pulled on the chain with all his strength. She cried out, the knives and swords scratching her on either side like oversized sharp fingers.

She tripped over the last knife and tumbled to the ground, all her wounds crying out. Her palms hit the ground with a thump and she crouched there, trembling. Blood dripped from a wound on her cheek and stained the stark white floor.

Her vision blurred because of the pain. She was gasping, but she barely heard herself. Rane squinted at the droplets of blood that were forming patterns on the floor.

“Stand up,” Bai said, smirking.

Rane wiped blood that dripped into her eye. “Shut up,” she hissed. “It’s painful.”

He shrugged and tugged at the chain, jerking her upright. All her wounds screamed. “If you stay here until the wounds heal, you’ll be here forever.”

“Why,” she coughed out the word. Her neck began to hurt again.

“Time heals wounds but there’s no time in Elusive.”

Encyclopedia of Emotions 4

The Illusion of Security

By: Coralyhr

The doorknob squeaked and turned slowly. The voices became louder. A head peeked in. “Rane?” he said. The little boy came in.

“Yo,” I said back. He came and sat at the corner of my bed. He held out a worksheet at me.

“I don’t know question four.”

I looked at the paper. He forgot to close the door, so the screaming was drowning him out too. I gave him the paper back. “Your denominator should be five. Close the door when you leave.”

He took the paper but kept sitting there, kicking his heels against the leg of the bed. I glared at him even though I was not angry. “Do you think they’ll stop?” he said.

Mummy was shouting and crying at the same time. Papa was quiet now. His voice low and dangerous. “I think there won’t be a family picnic tomorrow.”

“Can’t we go without them?” he asked, staring up at the whitewashed ceiling with its glow-in-the-dark star stickers.

“Yeah,” I replied, “We can.”

“Can we ride the bicycles?” he kicked against the bed harder.

“Yeah. We can.”

The Little Paris Bookshop Review

the-little-paris-bookshop

Title: The Little Paris Bookshop

Author: Nina George

Summary: The Little Paris Bookshop is a delightful, bittersweet tale about the distance one man will travel for love and friendship – On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop, or rather a literacy apothecary, for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers…

I have not touched a storybook in so long or found solace in one for over a month. Life happened. And the words just seemed to slide off the page when I read the books.

But I was intrigued by the idea of books being used as emotional medicine. As a creative writing student, I have been caught up in the whirlwind of ‘write to engage your reader’ and ‘not interesting enough – boring’. I forgot that I was writing to capture specific details for specific people even if there is only one other person out there who needs it.

The Little Paris Bookshop pulled this off cleverly with a main character who knows how to help others although he himself is being consumed by his own sorrow. The story charts his own emotional voyage with his barge of books and his battle with love, friendship and pain.

My favourite passage of the book is this:

Pain, for example, he said: it reserves the polarity of cells. It starts after only three days: arousal cells become pain cells, sensory cells become fear cells, coordination cells become pin-cushions. Eventually tenderness only causes hurt; every breeze, every musical vibration, every approaching shadow triggers fear. And pain feeds hungrily on every movement and every muscle, breeding millions of new pain receptors. Your insides are completely transformed and replaced, but it is invisible from the outside.

By the end you want no one ever to touch you again, Vijaya says. You grow lonely.

Pain is a cancer of the soul, says your oldest friend. He says it like a scientist; he doesn’t consider hte nausea such words will trigger in non-scientists. He is foretelling everything that will happen to me.

Pain makes the body dull and your mind with it, as your Vijaya knows. You forget; you can no longer think logically, only in panic. And all your healthy thoughts fall into the furrows the pain gouges into your brain. All your hopes. Eventually you too fall in and are gone, your entire self swallowed up by pain and panic.

The way Nina George describes these little details, emotions, the breeze, the atmosphere – it settles over you like a comforting blanket. I have forgotten that I need books to survive. I forgot because I hated the way I read in order to feel better. In order to come to terms with this very subject in the passage I quoted. Pain.

Yes, books do soothe the troubled soul. I am addicted to this medicine. It’s good to be back, it’s good to inhale words so that I can breathe them out again.

Dance of the Living

To be perfectly honest, I never thought that anyone would live in Quixotic except its creator – me. I simply wanted a space to write and share my unusual thoughts on life that one cannot say out loud. So I suppose I am talking to you: the one reading this, the quirky, strange you, the creative, unique you, the one in love with stories.

Poverty has been a theme I heard and discussed many times in my life because my parents used to be poor, grew up poor and knew what it felt like. What I learnt, however, was not the terrible conditions they lived in or the threat of death hanging over their heads everyday. Instead, I learnt that poverty was a teacher.

Over the years, I’ve explored the many aspects of the lives of those without enough and have written literacy works based on the theme of poverty. Living in poverty is a fight for life. They live for the purpose of living. What do we do? We live, hoping for the day we will die. For the suffering to end, for the world is cease, for utopia to be achieved. The ‘better life’ we are aiming for… what exactly is it?

01. Picture

PEACE ON EARTH is a video I wrote about discrimination against the poor within our society. (Click on the title to view the video.) You don’t need to travel to Smokey Mountain to see poverty. Poverty could be living in your neighbour’s apartment. What you see in poverty that you see less in affluence is hope.

Right now, I’m working on a story of the affluent finding hope in a poverty-stricken society. The world likes to find happiness in oneself.

Do something you love.

Buy something you like,

Spend time with people who make you smile.

But these methods are not working. We face increasing rates of suicide, depression and eating disorders. Why? Because I think that we should be making other people happy in order to be happy. The society that focuses on self will always spiral downwards because you are never good enough for yourself.

So look forward to that story ^.^

Thank you for reading!

What Do You Gain?

A poetry piece that was not meant to be.

You can read it here: WHAT DO YOU GAIN?

Being stabbed by someone with words or actions is unfortunately common in this world of expressing yourself. If you are angry, say so. But what does the other person feel? What do you gain? Do you feel better about it afterwards? Does it make you a better person? Why are you so afraid of the recoil?

Something will be irreplaceably damaged by that knife. That wound will bleed and drip. It will not close up, ever, until the person is dead. If by some miracle it does, the scar remains, the fear remains.

What do you gain?

Everyone gets hurt in their lifetime. These wounds either serve to help one grow into a better person or into a bitter person. A giver or a misery. Do you gain experience or fears? Do I gain satisfaction or morbid fascination?